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The 21st Annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards 

Wednesday, Apr 12 2000
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Photo by Ted Soqui
Ties galore punctuated a festive 21st annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards (honoring stages of 99 seats or less, for productions that opened in 1999), held Monday night at the ever-gracious LATC, co-hosted by the ever-iridescent Charlotte Rae and Chris Wells. In 26 competitive categories, six resulted in tie votes (leading male, male comedy performance, play writing, direction, costume design and original music). Sacred Fools Theater Company presented a visually dazzling opening number — a parody of small-theater greatness in Y3K — in which, for instance, the Odyssey Theater had taken over much of the Westside with hundreds of black-box theaters, and featuring stilt walkers and a 15-foot puppet that was almost decapitated entering through the 8-foot lobby door. Back Stage West senior critic Polly Warfield received the Queen of the Angels Award, created just for her. Receiving the Career Achievement Award, Ellen Geer tried to draw a distinction between small theater and all theater, a resonant plea that ironically fell largely on deaf ears, since half the crowd was in the lobby at the time, drinking and eating. In the entertainment sequences, the casts of Forbidden Broadway Y2K L.A.! skewered Liza Minnelli and The Lion King; Tim Miller performed an excerpt from his Glory Box about homophobia in Montana; and Andy Prieboy introduced a scene from White Trash Wins Lotto, his wry parody of both musical theater and the music industry, featuring that “iconic figurine Pete Axl Rose” in a sequence that reveals the promise of a hit in the making. Other presenters included Michael Learned, Avery Schreiber, John Spencer, Alan Mandell, Chay Yew, Alec Mapa, Barbara Beckley, Culture Clash, Lars Hansen and Sally Kirkland, among many others of significance.

—Steven Leigh Morris

The evening’s award recipients were as follows:

Production of the Year: The Greeks, Odyssey Theater Ensemble

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Revival Production of the Year: The Adding Machine, Sacred Fools Theater Company at the Heliotrope Theater

Musical of the Year: Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater

Leading Female Performance: Bernadette Sullivan, Scenes From an Execution, Zoo District

Leading Male Performance (tie): Loren Bass, Othello, Pasadena Shakespeare Company; Leland Crooke, 900 Oneonta, Odyssey Theater Ensemble

Supporting Female Performance: Beth Hogan, The Greeks, Odyssey Theater Ensemble

Supporting Male Performance: Jon Cryer, 900 Oneonta, Odyssey Theater Ensemble

Comedy Performance by a Male (tie): Nicholas Gilhool, Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater; Chris Wells, Harry Thaw Hates Everybody, Indecent Exposure Theater Company at the Los Angeles Theater Center

Comedy Performance by a Female: Elsa Wolthausen, Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater

One-Act Performance by a Male: Steve White, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv

One-Act Performance by a Female: April White, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv

Play Writing (tie): John Fisher, Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater; Paul Mullin, Louis Slotin Sonata, Circle X Theater Company at the Hollywood Court Theater

One-Act Play Writing: Alyson Croft, Cellophane City, Blue Sphere Alliance at the Lex Theater

Direction (tie): Bart DeLorenzo, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation; Wesley Walker, The Conception, Oxblood Theater Company at Glaxa Studios

Comedy Direction: Rainn Wilson, The New Bozena, Hudson Mainstage Theater

One-Act Direction: Bjørn Johnson, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv

Ensemble: The House of Bernarda Alba, Deaf West Theater Company at the Ventura Court Theater

Comedy Ensemble: Eight Ways To Meet Your Neighbor, Buzzworks Theater Company at the Tamarind Theater

Solo Performance: Steven Berkoff, Shakespeare’s Villains, Odyssey Theater

Production Design: Reefer Madness!, Hudson Backstage Theater

Costume Design (tie): Robert A. Prior/Teresa Shea, Voluptuous Madness, Fabulous Monsters at Highways; Salvatore Salamone, Tagteam Lovefest 2000, Actors’ Gang

Lighting Design: Ron Scarborough, The Conception, Oxblood Theater Company at Glaxa Studios

Set Design: Robert A. Prior, A Fairy Tale, Actors’ Gang

Makeup: Marie Del Prete, Ugly’s First World, Actors’ Gang

Sound Design: John Zalewski, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation

Original Music (tie): Golden State Klezmers, Kabbalah, Blue Sphere Alliance at the Lex Theater; Jef Bek, Scenes from an Execution, Zoo District

Career Achievement: Ellen Geer

Queen of the Angels Award: Polly Warfield

Special commendation for props: Stan Freitag/Darrin W. Jaques, Burning Chrome, Sacred Fools Theater Company at the Heliotrope Theater

Special commendation for videography: Adam Soch, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation

Reach the writer at smorris@laweekly.com

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